For emergent brand Cupra, the Formentor may be just the right car at almost the right time. It’s precisely the kind of early offering to demonstrate the alternative style, everyday versatility and breadth of appeal that the firm can now aspire to conjure for a whole range of future models. The Cupra Ateca really wasn’t, and isn’t, any of the above.

After something of a false start, then, this car seems to set a mould that Cupra can follow, or occasionally depart from, as it sees fit; and it’s a fresh and interesting mould that offers something to a whole range of would-be buyers. There is abundant real-world practicality here, as well as some luxury-level material richness and flourish, a striking sense of style and an appealingly pragmatic but still compelling driving experience.

Versatile, interesting, rewarding; one of the best fast crossovers yet

This isn’t a driver’s car that approaches really immersive levels of reward, but the slightly laid-back compromise it aims for is rather successfully produced. As tested, it’s also better looking, better priced and more usable than most of its premium-branded rivals. If cheaper derivatives appeal as clearly, the Formentor should be quite the launch pad.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Cupra Formentor